Monday, July 26, 2010

World Land Speed Record Formula One 2006 Honda RA106 "Bonneville 400" Sells For £51,000

Nose art on the Honda-BAR Formula 1 "Bonneville 400" which was a Formula 1 car specially prepared to exceed or hit the 400 km/h speed mark for a measured mile going in a straight line over a seven mile course [ctrl-click image to launch a Dutch language YouTube video of the effort and record-setting event]. Image Credit:

World Land Speed Record Formula One 2006 Honda RA106 "Bonneville 400" Sells For £51,000

Line Item: Bonhams Catalog for Silverstone Classic Auction held July 24, 2010 -

114The Formula 1 Land Speed Record-holding, 2006 Honda RA106 'Bonneville 400' Monoposto Chassis no. to be advised Engine no. to be advised£51,000

The Formula 1 Land Speed Record-holding, 2006 Honda RA106 "Bonneville 400" as pictured in the Bonhams catalog - On the first two days of running, Honda get astonishingly close to their 400km/h (248.56mph) target but just missed out. Image Credit: BBC

That's $78,667.2837 in today's Bonneville Salt Flats dollars.

Not much attention has been paid to this historic sale. The listing of this unique piece of Motor Culture history only became posted on the web a couple of days before the auction in a post by Arman Barari in Motor Ward (a Blogger site from England).

To add perspective to the achievement of this open-wheel racing car ... in 2006, this top-of-the-art car went to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah during Speed Week and set out to post a World Land Speed Record for a car of this type, traveling over a measured mile on two passes, within a one hour time period.

Driver, Alan Van Der Merwe as he climbs into the cockpit of the "Bonneville 400" at the Salt Flats during Speed Week 2006. On day three, the Honda did average 400km/h for a mile, but the aggregate over two runs is under that at 393.61km/h. Image Credit: BBC

This excerpted and edited from a Bonhams Press Release appearing in Motor Ward -

The record attempt got under way on Monday 17th July 2006 in the best possible manner; Alan van der Merwe achieving an average speed of 220.571mph over two runs through a measured mile on the seven-mile straight to set a new record for a Formula 1 car. By the time a damaged differential (caused by driveshaft failure) brought proceedings to a halt on the Thursday, van der Merwe had broken his own record, leaving the mark for the flying mile at 246.908mph (397.03km/h) and that for the flying kilometre at 246.983mph (397.481km/h). Although the average speeds just missed the 400km/h target, the team at least had the satisfaction of seeing it exceeded on one of the runs.
Reference Here>>

The speed attained on this controlled run - on a salt flat surface in a specially prepared car caught me by surprise - remember, 246.983 miles per hour.

Auto Club Speedway (Formally California Speedway) track configuration. This is the site that holds the world land speed record for a closed course. Image Credit: Will Pittenger/Wikipedia (2008)

The speed records for the fastest qualifying and the fastest "at race" lap speeds at the Auto Club Speedway (formally the California Speedway in Fontana, California) are not too much removed from this mark. On October 28, 2000, during CART qualifying, Brazilian Gil de Ferran, driving a Penske Racing prepared Reynard with Honda engine, set the track record for fastest lap at 241.426 mph (388.537 km/h) ... this was also a world speed record for the fastest lap of a closed course.

Moreover, Canadian driver, Greg Moore during the 1997 Marlboro 500, driving a Forsythe Racing prepared Reynard 97i with a Mercedes engine, posted an "at race" speed record of 236.38 (380.416735 km/h). A rumor had PacWest driver, Mark Blundell posting a 237.00 mph plus mark during this same race, but no evidence could be found.

The "Bonneville 400" as it sails into the sunset - Since 2006 the Honda record-breaker has not been run and still bears salt stains in places. The transmission remains un-repaired and thus the car is sold as a non-runner. Runner or not, this is a uniquely historic Formula 1 car, worthy of a place in any motor museum or private collection. Image Credit: BBC

These records were set on pavement, yes ... but with corners - and the "At Race" mark was set with other cars on the track competing in the race. The "Bonneville 400" is really not too impressive ... but this photo and the selling price (it was only expected to fetch between 10,000 and 20,000 Pounds as opposed to the actual auction selling price of 51,000 Pounds) certainly are.

I don't suppose anyone has an old 2000 de Ferran/Penske laying around somewhere?!!!

... notes from The EDJE

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